As teachers, we’ve all had students that are looking for extra credit. This is especially true after mid-term progress reports come out. In general, I think it’s ridiculous. Looking for a quick fix to boost one’s grade doesn’t make up for the daily work and effort that was lacking.
That’s why I’m a fan of the ambiguous brush-off. Here’s how it works: A student asks for extra credit. I respond with, “Sure, let me think of something.” This simple line without any follow-up works for about half of the students seeking that golden ticket to a passing grade. Seriously, half the kids won’t bother to even ask again.
However, there are some students that press on a little further, and they need more than a brush-off. They need the line, “Sure, come by after school, and we can talk about it.” This works for most other students because: A. they forget by the end of the day, or B. they have a million other things to do, and extra credit usually takes a back-seat.
Finally, there are a few persistent students that actually follow through and seek me out at the end of the day. By this time, the students that do this tend to be the responsible ones that work hard and don’t even need the extra credit. Therefore, I’m generally happy to oblige and offer the students a chance to grow their knowledge.
Today was one of those days when a persistent student sought me out beyond “the brush off” and didn’t buy the “after school” line. In fact, this student asked me on Friday about extra credit, reminded me in class today (Monday), AND came by after school. This student was calm, professional, and went about it all in a mature way, and I was happy to oblige him with an extra credit project.
A big “Woohoo!” to all students that care about their grades. Now, let’s see if this kid actually completes and turns in the project… 🙂